Longevity Specialist Life Biosciences Steps Up Expansion Gambit

Anti-aging startup, backed by WeWork’s Adam Neumann, makes an acquisition and seeks to raise $25 million.

By HEATHER MACK
Oct. 1, 2018

Life Biosciences LLC, the longevity startup founded by Harvard researcher David Sinclair and funded by WeWork’s Adam Neumann, is ramping up an expansion of its bid to become the world’s largest company dedicated to antiaging drugs.

Launched publicly in April, the Cambridge, Mass.- based company has six subsidiaries across four continents. Adding to that, it just acquired Lua Technologies Inc., a health-care communications company, to power Life Biosciences’ research collaboration platform. No financial terms of the acquisition were disclosed.

To continue global expansion efforts, Life Biosciences is also looking to raise up to $25 million in new financing, according to a regulatory filing. The company wouldn’t comment on the filing, nor on how much capital it has raised to date. Mr. Neumann, who serves on Life Biosciences’ board, is the only disclosed investor thus far.

Through a WeWork spokesperson, Mr. Neumann declined to comment.

Some of the most heavily funded longevity startups like Unity Biotechnology , now public, focus on just one or a few aging-related diseases like osteoarthritis and vision loss. Life Biosciences is aiming for an all-encompassing gambit: to own all the best research, drugdevelopment pipelines, intellectual property and financing opportunities for the entire sector.

For the past three years, the company has operated quietly amid a surge of activity from other venture-backed longevity startups. In the past year, Life Biosciences’ workforce has grown to 90 employees, including the hiring of several veteran pharmaceutical and IT executives into key leadership positions. Logitech Chief Executive Bracken Darrell serves on the board of directors and the company’s chief financial officer is Brian Malone, the former chief financial officer of Longwood Fund Management. Life Biosciences co-founder Tristan Edwards serves as chief executive officer.

“Our thesis was to have a land grab of the best people before we let ourselves be known and have competition. We have achieved that now,” said Mr. Sinclair, a renowned geneticist and serial entrepreneur who serves as chairman and head of the company’s investment committee.

Life Biosciences’ portfolio covers a range of longevity research and therapeutics including drugs to target metabolic diseases like diabetes, the use of stem cells to aid in senescent, or socalled “zombie” cell removal, and compounds to prolong life for pets. Two of Life Biosciences’ current companies, Senolytic Therapeutics Inc. and Jumpstart Fertility Inc., were acquired at a very early stage while the other four were formed in-house.

Life Biosciences has also secured several prominent aging and longevity researchers including Dr. Nir Barzilai, the director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who will serve as the company’s chief medical adviser.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly reported Dr. Nir Barzilai’s title as chief medical officer. He is the company’s chief medical adviser. (Oct. 1, 2018)